CategoriesConference article

New paper: A Human-centric Approach to Explain Evolving Data

A recent study led by my colleague Gabriella Casalino at the University of Bari highlights the importance of transparency and explainability in Machine Learning models used in educational environments. 

As we embrace this technological shift driven by AI in education, it is imperative to address the ethical considerations surrounding AI applications in educational settings. A recent study has underscored the critical importance of transparency and explainability in machine learning models utilized in educational environments.

At the forefront of this study is the introduction of DISSFCM, a dynamic incremental classification algorithm that harnesses the power of fuzzy logic to analyze and interpret students' interactions within learning platforms; by offering human-centric explanations, the research endeavours to deepen stakeholders' understanding of how AI models arrive at decisions in educational contexts.

One of the key strengths of the DISSFCM algorithm lies in its adaptability. It dynamically adjusts its model in response to changes in data, ensuring resilience and reliability in educational data analytics. This adaptability enhances the algorithm's performance and instills confidence in the insights derived from educational data.

Transparency and ethical standards are paramount in AI practices, particularly in educational settings. We can build trust and ensure fairness in deploying educational technologies by upholding these principles. The study sheds light on the evolving landscape of AI integration in education and emphasizes the pivotal role of explainable AI in fostering trust and understanding among stakeholders.

As we navigate the intersection of AI and education, prioritizing transparency and explainability will be instrumental in shaping a future where technology enhances learning experiences while upholding ethical standards. By embracing these principles, we can pave the way for a more transparent and accountable educational ecosystem powered by AI.

Reference to the article: 

G. Casalino, G. Castellano, D. Di Mitri, K. Kaczmarek-Majer and G. Zaza, "A Human-centric Approach to Explain Evolving Data: A Case Study on Education," 2024 IEEE International Conference on Evolving and Adaptive Intelligent Systems (EAIS), Madrid, Spain, 2024, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1109/EAIS58494.2024.10569098.

The paper also got an award at the EAIS conference. 

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Invited talk at the University of The Philippines


On June 19th, I was invited to give an online talk at the University of the Philippines. The title of my talk was "Intelligent Tutors, Learning Analytics, and Multimodal Technologies," and it served as the kickoff guest lecture for the webinar series hosted by the Intelligent Systems Center of the University of the Philippines. At its peak, the lecture had over 170 participants connected online.

During the talk, I discussed how learners in the twenty-first century need continuous instruction and timely feedback to develop their competencies. In situations where human experts are not readily available, Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems can offer automatic, personalized, and real-time feedback to learners in distance learning settings. This allows learners to practice at their own pace while receiving continuous feedback. Moreover, AI feedback can extend beyond traditional cognitive tasks to provide input on physical learning tasks by integrating with immersive and multimodal technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) or sensor-based systems.

I summarized the main insights of my research in AI in education and Multimodal Learning Analytics (MMLA), introducing the concept of "Multimodal Tutors". I demonstrated how MMLA can support distance teaching and learning with personalized feedback and adaptation. Through relevant use cases, I illustrated how AI and immersive technologies can be used to enhance feedback. Finally, I presented my research agenda for augmenting feedback with AI and how it can provide personalized and adaptive support to learners and teachers.

CategoriesSummer schools

JTEL Summer School 2024


In May 2024, the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning's annual summer event, the JTEL summer school 2024, took place in Gabicce Mare, Italy. This year, I helped co-organize the summer school in Italy in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science of the University of Bologna, particularly with the help of Stefano Pio Zingaro and prof Maurizio Gabbrielli.

The event occurred at the Grand Hotel Michelacci in Gabicce. It was attended by over 100 participants at the JTEL summer school, of which more than 70% were PhD candidates in fields related to Technology-enhanced learning, and the rest were instructors or more advanced researchers.

I started going to the JTEL summer school in 2016 when I was just a master's student, and ever since, I have attended all the editions. JTELSS is not a simple academic event; is a relevant moment for community building for the TEL research community in Europe. Reaching its 17th edition, the JTEL summer school has helped generations of TEL PhD researchers escape the isolation they often face during their careers.

Like in previous years, the JTEL summer school provided a rich program that included thematic workshops, methodological workshops for PhD skills development, and interesting international keynotes. Through a Call for Sessions, the program is shaped bottom up, with the PhD candidates proposing workshops around their research or point of expertise. Compared to a classical academic conference, such as the connected mother EC-TEL conference, the JTEL summer school is more informal and certainly more fun. The objective is not only to let the participants present their research work but to spend time together, brainstorm, and develop collaborations and research ideas. This crowdsourcing of intelligence fuels research communities such as the ECTEL community.

I wish there were more events, such as the JTEL. The academia would be much more fun, social, and collaborative.

My contribution

Workshop: A Deep Dive into Multimodal Technologies for Skills Development

Contribution by the PhDs I am supervising (Nina and Stefan)

JTEL workshop: Making Presentable Research


Excursions, Gala Dinner, Demo Session

CategoriesResearch visits

Research visit at the University of Bari

In January and February 2024, I pursued a research visit at the University "Aldo Moro" of Bari, Italy, in the Department of Informatics (DIB); at this university, I conducted undergraduate studies in computer science, graduating in 2014 with a thesis in Learning Analytics for Formative assessment. In that department, my interest in education technologies began.

Going into that tall glass building after 10 years as a senior researcher was a strange feeling... 

The visit involved the Department of Informatics of Bari (DIB) and Education, Psychology, and Communication Science (ForPsiCom). My primary reference contact during my stay was Dr Gabriella Casalino, an assistant professor at the DIB. For this reason, I was stationed in the CILAB group, led by Prof Dr Giovanna Castellano, to which Dr Casalino belongs.

The overall scope of the research visit in Italy was to establish multiple bridges between my research institute (the DIPF) and the University “Aldo Moro” of Bari.

The first bridge established with the CILAB, the Computational Intelligence Laboratory, was to hold a presentation about my research. On Monday, 22nd January 2024, I delivered my presentation as part of the seminar on “Information Technology Outlook,” the seminar series part of the PhD programme in Computer Science and Mathematics. My talk was entitled “Intelligent Tutors, Learning Analytics and Multimodal Technologies for Feedback Augmentation.”

The talk emphasised the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in providing personalised and immediate feedback to students in online learning environments, especially when no human experts are available. AI's constant feedback availability facilitates self-paced learning, including cognitive and physical tasks, through immersive technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality. The presentation briefly overviewed the speaker's research on AI and Multimodal Learning Analytics (MMLA), focusing on "Multimodal Tutors". It showed how MMLA improves online teaching by providing personalised feedback, using relevant applications that integrate AI and immersive technologies.

The talk sparked some interest in my research from the research group members. In fact, after that, I planned various smaller or individual talks with doctoral students to support them in improving their research design. I also participated in two research events of the CILAB group. The first was the GNCS meeting, gathering researchers from CNR, the University of Bari, and the University of Padua to discuss the results of the joint project on “Computational methods, based on fuzzy logic, for eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI)”. Furthermore, I participated in the brainstorming meeting of the CILAB to address the latest and most complicated research challenges the group members face.

The collaboration with ForPsiCom focused on research transfer and exchange with the existing groups in Bari that deal with education technologies, the first led by Prof Beatrice Ligorio, the second led by Prof Loredana Perla and Prof Michele Baldassare.

On the 20th of February 2024, I presented to Prof Ligorio's group. The talk, entitled “Intelligent Tutors, Learning Analytics and Multimodal Technologies for Feedback Augmentation”, had, this time, a much more humanistic focus compared to the one given at the DIB. The presentation lasted 90 minutes, followed by discussions and questions. After the presentation in the afternoon, I attended 4 PhD presentations from the PhD students of Ligorio’s group. I provided PhD candidates with my feedback on their progress and what they could improve in their future steps. Moreover, we discussed a possible involvement in a research project on emotions and learning.

On the 28th of February 2024, I presented at Prof Perla’s and Baldassarre’s group. As preparation for the presentation, I asked the students to listen to a recent podcast I recorded entitled “The Future is Multimodal” as part of the AI_ducation podcast series. The meeting with Perla’s group was particularly successful as it allowed the participants (mostly PhD students) to share their views on AI in education, specifically the support that generative AI and large language models can have in education.